reviews\ May 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

Battleship the Video Game review

This is probably the first time in what seems like ages that we’ve seen a video game based on a film based on a popular board game.  And judging by what we played through, here’s hoping that it’s the last.  Battleship the Video Game tries to recreate the “intensity” (we use that word lightly) of the film, taking on an alternate storyline that ties in with the movie’s.  Unfortunately, too much copying of Bungie’s Halo formula, combined with numerous frustrating elements, sinks this ship.

In the game, you’re Cole Mathis, a Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician working his way around the Hawaiian Islands with his team, defusing of bombs that are inexplicably active.  From out of nowhere, an alien invasion breaks out, and you find yourself serving double duty, as commander and first-person gunman, trying to stop it.

The game combines two different elements.  You’ve got your first-person shooting, in which you use both typical and alien weapons to fight back against your new foes, and then there’s the Battle Command tactics, in which you order ships around the island to move around and engage enemies at sea.

The Battle Command interface is fairly easy to use; you use a “point A to point B” system to direct your allies into combat or defensive position.  It gains a bit of interest with the introduction of Badges, which you pick up around the island after defeating enemies.  Activating these gives you a number of benefits, but the big one is being able to control your battleship as it takes on enemies at sea.  Sadly, these segments don’t last long at all — about 20 seconds or so before you’re right back to the ground combat.

And that’s where Battleship falls flat.  Double Helix completely rips off Bungie’s Halo formula, from the way you chuck grenades to using alien weaponry to using a pistol strikingly similar to Master Chief’s.  But it screws up with lackluster aiming tactics and repetitive enemy design.  You barely get to face anything worth writing home about — unless you’re at sea, that is.  The air strikes are pretty cool, but sometimes you get blown up accidentally, depending where they’re placed.  The spaced-out checkpoints don’t help either.

Battleship is also quite average when it comes to presentation.  The graphics fail to wow on any front, as the explosions and alien designs are quite typical (and, again, completely aping Bungie’s more successful efforts).  The frame rate jumps often, and the cinematics look choppy and half-finished.  The audio fares no better, between continuously bad pieces of dialogue and gunfire effects that have been copied from better games.

As a $60 release, Battleship is also lacking in overall value.  The story campaign will take you four hours, at best, and outside of finding hidden pegs or replaying missions, there isn’t anything else.  There’s no multiplayer of any kind, nor any special missions where you can fight strictly at sea.  Oh, you do get a pass for the movie, but considering how much it sucks, that’s not a benefit.

In the end, Battleship the Video Game is just another piece of sludge in the movie-licensed genre.  It doesn’t play that well, has very little to hold your interest over time, and features a strictly average presentation.  The fact it copies Halo nearly every step of the way (you’re even called Master Chief midway through) is pretty shameless too.  Like the movie, you should just avoid this completely and enjoy yourself elsewhere.


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